Survey: Asylum Families Face Fear, Violence and Homelessness in Mexico

SOUTHERN BORDER — Nearly 9 out of every 10 asylum-seekers expressed fear to U.S. immigration officials of being forced to wait for their court hearings in Mexico, and according to a new report, they had a good reason to be fearful.

Many asylum-seekers have experienced violence, homelessness and discrimination while waiting in Mexico as part of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), according to the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC), which just released the most comprehensive survey to date of asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico. This survey follows-up an August report by the USIPC that analyzed the abusive and inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers at an immigration detention center in San Diego, CA.

While the new survey of more than 600 asylum-seekers took place in the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, the findings offer a glimpse into the dangers and hardships facing vulnerable families in northern Mexican cities the length of the border region where they have no family, job or place to stay for months at a time. The report comes as the Trump administration announced the expansion of MPP to the Eagle Pass Port of Entry in Eagle Pass, Texas. This brings the total number of ports of entry where MPP is used to six.

According to the new survey:

  • Nearly 2 out of every 3 respondents who expressed fear of being returned to Mexico reported that their persecutor(s) can find and have access to them in Mexico, but were returned to Mexico anyway.
  • Nearly 1 out of every 4 respondents have been threatened with physical violence while in Mexico, and most of those threatened were victims of physical violence, including beatings, robberies and extortion.
  • About 1 out of every 3 experience homelessness while they wait in Mexico, and this includes families with children under the age of 18.
  • Approximately 1 out of every 3 respondents reported being discriminated against while in Mexico

Joanna Williams of the Kino Border Institute in Arizona and an SBCC steering committee member, said the following:

"For years, border communities have demonstrated our capacity for hospitality. Yet, as this report demonstrates, MPP is designed to deny rights, protection and a community for thousands of families. It is a policy of wasteful cruelty that forces people into homelessness when they have homes waiting for them in our country. This intentional infliction of harm is contrary to our values as a community and our nation. We need to move away from policies that put people in danger, and instead embrace policies that protect human life while treating others the way we would like our loved ones to be treated."


The Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) brings together organizations from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas, to ensure that border enforcement policies and practices are accountable and fair, respect human dignity and human rights, and prevent the loss of life in the region.


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Southern Border Communities Coalition is a program of Alliance San Diego.


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